Review of The Critical Thinking Co.’s Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT – SAT Book 1

77750a4e-bc4c-44d4-8423-d8fd26992fcd-679-00000090836ce65d_file

The Critical Thinking Co. makes studying vocabulary to get ready for the SAT and PSAT a breeze with Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+).  This workbook contains 20 vocabulary lists along with 5 review lists.   The Critical Thinking Co. has provided our family with material to help our children develop Critical Thinking, Language Arts, Thinking Skills, Math and more through the years.  So I was confident this book would be useful for our 17-year-old son.  I want to ensure he has the best resources to help him prepare for getting into college and that includes preparing for the SAT and PSAT.

The Critical Thinking Co. provides resources for everything from Critical Thinking Skills to math to vocabulary to writing skills and more.  Their website states on their “About Us” page, “Since 1958, our award-winning products have helped students of all abilities achieve better academic results with highly effective lessons that sharpen the mind as they teach standards-based reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history.”  These products are guaranteed to produce better grade and increase test scores while being fun and easy to use.

img_3302

Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+) is a 208-page book will increase vocabulary while stimulating your student’s imagination.  Each lesson teaches PSAT and/or SAT vocabulary words using definitions, pronunciation keys, parts of speech using several different activities including a story that involves students in a classroom.  Students complete exercises requiring critical reading and thinking skills designed to help expand their vocabulary. Correct spelling is emphasized with an activity that requires them to unscramble the word before writing the correct spelling.

Designed for the classroom, homeschool use, or even independent study, Vocabulary Virtuoso is a highly effective and fun vocabulary resource!  Our 18-year-old son found the activities to be age appropriate and for the most part enjoyable.  His favorite part was the puzzles because he loves working on any type of puzzles he can get his hands on at any time.

img_3303

Students complete 4 lessons followed by a review lesson.  Our family elected to complete a word list a week.  Each list includes the list of words for the week along with their definitions and sample sentences along with 6 parts to complete.  For Part A, our son had to pick the best word from the list provided on the page that best completed each sentence.  Then in Part B, he again had to pick the best word from the box provided to complete each sentence.  In Part C, he had to choose the best word from the block of words provided to complete the sentences in a story.  In Part D, he was given a sentence that he then had to unscramble letters and spell the word correctly that best complete each sentence.  For Part E, he had to write the best word from the box provided that was a synonym for the word provided.  Then in Part F, he was given the start of various sentences containing words from the week that he then completed based on his knowledge of the word’s meaning.

img_3304

We elected for him to complete Parts A – D on their own days and then complete Parts E and F on the final day of the week.  This system seemed to work well for our son.  Then for the weeks containing the Reviews, he had to complete three sections.  The first was a crossword puzzle, the second multiple choice questions and the final section was taking fictional book titles and selecting the best word to describe each book.

img_3305

The workbook contains both the worksheets as well as the answers.  I love how everything is self-contained. It means we do not have to worry about papers being scattered all over the place. Also, it makes it easy to just pick up the book and take it wherever we happen to be going on a given day.

img_3308

The lessons begin with a list of words and the definitions for them.  This feature made it faster to complete the assignments since our son did not have to refer to actual materials.  Another thing I liked about this workbook is that it requires students to learn the definition of a word, but then they had to use other forms of the word, which helps reinforce what they are learning.  Also, I appreciate that the assignments for every list are laid out the same.  Students know exactly what will be expected of them from week to week.

img_3307

We loved the variety of words included in each lesson. As I looked through the book, I found words that I was not sure of the meaning. So I can see this book benefiting adults as well as students. Truly, it is perfect for anyone who desires to increase their vocabulary.  Furthermore, the fact that each list repeated the same series of requirements made it easy to know what needed to be done.

You can find The Critical Thinking Co. on social media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCriticalThinkingCo
Twitter: www.twitter.com/criticalthinks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/criticalthinks/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsVEVNa6UpVqXxo_t5sbb7Q
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecriticalthinkingco/

Having already reviewed one product from The Critical Thinking Co., I was glad to be able to review this product. You can also check out our family’s Review of The Critical Thinking Co.’s Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 by clicking here.

The Critical Thinking Co. makes studying vocabulary to get ready for the SAT and PSAT a breeze with Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+).  Also from now until December 31, 2019, you can use the following coupon code to save 15% on any size order along with free shipping.

Other members of The Home School Review Crew are reviewing this product as well as other products, so click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews from this fantastic company.

Review of Pathway to Liberty’s The Middle Ages Levels 3 and 4

img_3225

If you are looking for a history curriculum with a Biblical worldview then let me introduce you to the Pathway to Liberty’s  The Middle Ages, part of the Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.  This curriculum has 4 time periods and 4 levels for each period. I am always on the lookout for new materials for our family to use for history that do not rely on a dry, boring textbook.  I want history to come alive for our children.  Also, I want their knowledge of history to include the true beliefs and ideas of our founding fathers.

For this review, I wanted our 16-year-old daughter and our 18-year-old son to be able to do history together and at a level, I felt they would be comfortable with the work.  So we selected The Middle Ages and Levels 3 and 4.  Because I initially planned on my husband and I studying with our children, we ordered the digital version.  The materials come either in digital format (able to be used by multiple family members or physical materials to be used by one student.  For this review, we received the Teacher’s Guides for Levels 3 and 4, the Student Guides for Levels 3 and 4 along with The Chain of Liberty and The Chain of Liberty Study Guide.

Pathway to Liberty is the creation of Jayme Maccullough and it has levels for students of all ages.  This comprehensive, principle-based history curriculum offers a lot of material. Jayme MacCullough is a speaker, writer, Bible Study leader, and more.

Their website states, “Through education, we can change tomorrow.”.  The curriculum includes four years of materials and each year has four levels plus a teacher guide.   The four years of materials are:

  • Year 1 – Universal History
  • Year 2 – The Middle Ages
  • Year 3 -U.S. History
  • Year 4 – Worl History

And the four levels are:

  • Level 1 – K5 – 3rd grade
  • Level 2 – 4th – 6th grade
  • Level 3 – 7th – 9th grade
  • Level 4 – 10th – 12th grade.

Students are expected to do readings, watch videos, answer questions and more through over 26 weeks for each year.  Four lessons of history are to be completed each week.  The lessons will take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes to complete.  How the lessons are completed can be customized to each family’s needs.  Students have the option to break the daily lessons down into smaller parts.  I have to say I wish this curriculum had been around when we first started homeschooling.  I love the idea of all 4 of our children working on the same material at the same time but at their own level.

For The Middle Ages, students begin with the Roman Republic and the Heroic Age of the Church and conclude with the Age of Exploration.

img_3225

For Levels 3 and 4, you need the Student Guide, the Teacher Guide, Chain of Liberty (book and study guide), along with some additional books, Internet access to watch the videos on YouTube, and a dictionary at the minimum.  Other books will be required as the course progresses.  If you decided to get the downloadable version, obviously a very good printer will also be necessary.

The Chain of Liberty and the accompanying study guide begin by taking a broad approach to exploring the pathway of liberty using past events.  In the next section, readers learn about Liberty from ancient to modern times including the ideologies of various types of governments along with the influence of the early church and the Reformation through the founding, exploration, through the eventual erosion of the American government.  The Study guide is the perfect accompaniment to the book providing students with opportunities to take what they are learning and make it their own.

 

The Teacher’s Guide provides information directly for the teacher.  It includes all four levels along with the requirements for each lesson.  The answers for many of the questions are supplied in the Guide as well.  It includes helpful directions and more.

img_3227

The Student Guides are designed for the students.  This is where they find their schedule for daily work, helpful information, reading assignments, questions to answer and more.  We loved how the digital version allowed us the option to print out the materials and place them in a notebook that our word studies and other papers could be added to as we completed them.  However, I found it easier to put The Chain of Liberty on my tablet to where we could take it and read wherever we went.

Our family enjoyed the reading assignments and doing the word studies.  When comparing the question from Levels 3 and 4, I could not find any real differences.  However, I obviously would have different expectations for my child doing Level 3 versus my child doing Level 4, especially when completing the Word Studies.  Here are some pages of the Student Guide along with some completed work.

img_3238

For the Word Studies, students need a Study Bible, a dictionary (our family has the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary), and a Word Study model.  One is provided in the Teacher’s Manual.  Our family found the instructions for the Word Study to be very useful and the video on the YouTube channel provides excellent instructions along with an example to help demonstrate the proper process for doing the Word Studies.

You can find Pathway to Liberty on social media at the following locations:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PathwaytoLiberty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pathway2Liberty
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pathwaytoliberty/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClVQD1kM1KnthMBWFTQ_AbQ/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pathwaytoliberty/

Our family loved the way this curriculum challenged us to think and expand our knowledge.  If you are looking for a history curriculum with a Biblical worldview then let me introduce you to the Pathway to Liberty’s  The Middle Ages, part of the Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.  I promise it will be worth your time.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing other years and other levels of this curriculum this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read some of these other reviews.

 

 

 

Review of Study.com and their DSST and CLEP Test Prep

img_3153

 

We received a 3-month subscription to Study.com to check out their CLEP and DSST prep materials.  I figured using the preparation materials would be useful even though we are not positive if our son is going to try testing out of courses for college.  The site provides CLEP Practice Tests, DSST Practice Tests, CLEP Study Guide, DSST Study Guide and more.

Study.com provides materials in everything from Language Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business Courses, Psychology, History, Humanities, and more. They offer products for Middle Schoolers, High Schoolers, and college ranging from popular tests to Teacher Certification, to Nursing and more.

img_3154

The CLEP and DSST materials are ideal for earning college credit.  Students have the option to use the courses as a full study program, an as needed review, or even as a supplement to an additional program (perhaps a homeschool course or even other test prep materials.  Students work at their own pace from either a computer or the mobile App.  For this review, our son used his laptop to work on the materials.

The CLEP materials generally contain about 15 – 20 hours of content.  The goal of the CLEP test materials is to spend about 1.5 hours a week on the contents over three months.  However, some families opt to use the materials only to brush up on their knowledge or may decide to go through the materials at a faster pace.

The CLEP section is the section we decided to concentrate on for this review.  Initially, we were looking at doing either the U.S. History course or the College Algebra Course.  In the end, the College Algebra course was our selection.  Our son began by taking a placement test.  Once the placement test was completed and submitted, we received the results of the test.  These results included Strengths and Weaknesses, which I appreciated.

img_3148

Once the students complete the Placement tests and review the results, they begin working through the actual course materials. Students watch a collection of videos, complete quizzes and chapter tests to improve their grasp of the materials. The students also have the option to retake the placement test to ensure they are making progress. This option also allows students to refine what they need to work on as they progress through the course.

img_3144

We felt the videos were of good quality, but they did not necessarily keep our son’s interest. He tends to do better with an in-person instructor rather than completing lessons on the computer.

As much as I wanted my 18-year-old son to enjoy this program, unfortunately, he found it tedious.  When I watched the placement quiz and the videos, I had to agree with him.  However, I believe the test-taking practice will be invaluable to him in preparation fr college regardless of whether he actually takes any CLEP exams or not. I do believe many families will find this site incredibly useful and worth spending time using.  For those students who love working on the computer and learning from videos, this site offers incredible opportunities with over 4,100 videos.  The ability to retake the quizzes and watch for improvement also impresses me.

You can find Study.com on Social Media on Facebook and Twitter.

So if you are looking for materials to help your students prepare for CLEP Tests or the DSST Tests, check out Study.com and their CLEP and DSST prep materials for yourself. Other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about these materials this week, so click here or on the graphic below to check out more of these reviews for yourself.

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe

Review of The Hamelin Stoop Series from 12 Gates Publishing

 

f62a771f-3ff6-4cd5-9e73-2bb561909427-4787-00000136c3e910b0_file

We have been reading and re-reading the first two books in the brand new Hamelin Stoop Series from 12 Gates Publishing.  We received both Hamelin Stoop: The Eagle, The Cave, and the Footbridge (Book 1)and Hamelin Stoop: The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna (Book 2).   As an avid reader myself, I am always on the lookout for books for our family to read.  So when I saw we had the opportunity to read this series, I was excited.  I planned on our sixteen-year-old daughter and our eighteen-year-old son reading these books as well as myself.

This young adult fantasy series by Robert B. Sloan includes adventure, danger, friendship, and more.  When I started reading the books, I was unable to put them down until I finished them. This is Mr. Sloan’s debut into the world of young adult fiction.

968c1647-89f6-481a-a216-ea4e61632a3a-4787-00000136f323684d_file

The Hamelin Stoop series includes interesting characters, evil characters, unbelievable occurrence and more.  From the start of the book when we first met Johnnie and Simone, Hamelin’s parents, we had no idea of what a rollercoaster ride this book would take us on at all.  Forced to abandon their only child by pretending to throw him off a cliff and then leaving him at a Children’s Home creates dramatic tension and more.  The first book addresses Hamelin growing up from a baby to eleven years old.  He encounters a majestic eagle, a mysterious footbridge, a mysterious realm, and experiences he could not begin to imagine.

The second book finds him on a quest to help new friends find a powerful jewel and a beloved sister.  He learns of the war being waged between the evil Chimera and the mysterious Ancient One.  We also learn that appearances do not necessarily tell the true story.  Magical objects play important roles in helping the three accomplish their missions through teamwork and trust.

a84b077a-f54a-45f8-89f3-e6454918f075-4787-0000013746da3d35_file

This series provides ample opportunities for talking about bullying, fear, courage, change, and other characteristics and situations.  With people constantly leaving, Hamelin has to adapt to change. Yet in the case of the Hayleys’ becoming House Parents for the Children’s Home, they bring in positive experiences for all the children in the home. So for families facing change, this could be a good place to begin a conversation.

a84b077a-f54a-45f8-89f3-e6454918f075-4787-0000013746da3d35_file

The books contain a continuous storyline that carries on throughout the books in a way that keeps the reader interested.  I feel this book is written in a way to keep the interest of middle school students.  The language is appropriate for them as well.

The relationship between Hamelin, Layla, and her brother Bryan captures the essence of how families can arise without biological relationships. Because they are older than Hamelin,  they provide the role of being an older brother and sister.  We were able to discern there was more to Layla than what we first gathered.  Even when they leave the Children’s Home, they continue to look out for him.  The books illustrate how actions have real consequences, and helps illustrate how we need to take responsibility for our own actions.

Our family’s only real complaint with this series is that we did not like how the books seemed to cut-off abruptly and left us hanging.  The ending of the first book was acceptable because we already had the second book to read.  But the ending of the second book truly left us wanting to read more.  So I guarantee we will be investing in future books in this series.

You can find 12 Gates Publishing on social media:  on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

So if you are looking for middle-grade fantasy books that include adventure, check out the new Hamelin Stoop Series from 12 Gates Publishing.  And click here or on the graphic below to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew.

Home School Review Crew Disclaimer - Copy - Copy

Review of Techie Homeschool Mom’s Famous Artists Online Unit Study Volume 1

5c519e9f-cc81-4a89-80e6-057af403e831-12123-0000032883a795ef_file

Today I want to introduce you to the tech-based learning discovery experiences of the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) from Techie Homeschool Mom.  The unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom are designed to integrate multiple subjects across multiple age levels.  This online unit study incorporates, information, activities, along with creating original artwork.  The online unit study is meant to be self-paced.

img_3092

Beth Napoli, of Techie Homeschool Mom provides resources designed to guide learners in this ever-changing digital world.  From historical figures to famous artists to specific time periods and more, Techie Homeschool Mom has something for everyone.  These studies are designed for mid=elementary school children through middle school children.  Even though our daughter was outside of these age ranges, I still felt this product had something to offer our artistic daughter.

This online unit study provided an excellent amount of videos, text, audio files and more to help keep my daughter’s artistic mindset interested.  Once we were able to login to the course, the first section of the course provided detailed instructions on how the course was structured, how to used emaze (required to create an online digital art gallery.  Emaze is an additional site that is required for this particular unit study.  The instructions provided in the course made it easy to complete this task.

img_3089

Once we were set up with emaze, our daughter quickly moved into learning about what is art.  Then the course moved into information about specific artists and their time periods including Leonardo da Vinci, John James Audobon, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, and  Salvador Dali.  The one thing I loved about this unit study is that it is meant to be self-paced.  So if your student wants to take off on rabbit trails, they can do so easily.

img_3093

Our daughter had to do a parody of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.  She turned the Mona Lisa into a Medusa look-alike and I think she did a pretty good job.  However, when she found out I had shared the drawing with her father, she seemed to be rather surprised that I had done so.  Her brothers who saw the drawing thought she did an excellent job and were immediately able to recognize what she had done.

For each artist, our daughter had to create a word document in the program of our choice to record her thoughts and information regarding the Artistic Movement, the artist, artwork of the artist along with recording the information about the artwork.  One thing I liked as a parent is that students are given links to go to in order to find the artwork and information.  The videos are primarily contained within the online unit study, so children are not just wandering around the Internet without guidance.  I feel this material presented is age appropriate with the exception of the nudity.

If our daughter was younger, I would have previewed the course and the materials before allowing her to complete anything.  Because our daughter is 16 and I wanted to watch the materials with her, I decided to just have her begin the course.  If I had found anything objectionable, I would have either marked the section complete or found some way to minimize the information.

img_3095

My one caution about this particular course is that it does contain nudity.  However, this information is clearly stated at the beginning of the study.  Parents are given the option to preview the lessons before their student completes them and have the ability to opt-out of any lessons they do not feel are appropriate for their child.  So with that stated, I definitely feel this course is one that should be done with parental supervision.

This course is self-paced meaning there is not a particular schedule to follow.  So I let our daughter work on the course at her own pace.  So we have completed through the Impressionism period.  For the Impressionism Period, I realized too late that we did not have the materials we needed for the project, so we just used what we had on hand and will go back later to do it properly as described by the course.

Here is a sample of one of our google docs of information.

f3ddc8e1-55e1-49ac-ae45-c6940aa664fc-12123-000002deefe6dab6_file

Here is our daughter’s Mona Lisa parody.

IMG_3074 (1)

Here is the link to a video of our daughter’s online art gallery.

img_3097

 

Here are the Techie Homeschool Mom’s Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/techiehomeschoolmom/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TechieHSmom
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/TechieHSmom/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGI-La5pBP4oFnd9DCRCdVg
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/techiehomeschoolmom/

All in all, I have to say our family is very pleased with the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1) from Techie Homeschool Mom.  So check it out for yourself.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing other products from Techie Homeschool Mom including the Ancient Egypt Online Unit Study, the Ancient Greece Online Unit Study, the Ancient Rome Online Unit Study, the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 1), the Famous Artists Online Unit Study (Vol. 2), the Solar System Online Unit Study, and the Famous Inventors Online Unit Study .

So click here or on the image below and check out more of these reviews of products from Techie Homeschool Mom for yourself.

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe

Review of Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork from Everyday Education

img_2784

If you need to create a high school transcript check out Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork from Everyday Education.  As the mother of two homeschool graduates and two currently in high school, I recognize the importance of good record keeping and the need for transcripts.  But going about creating the transcripts is a different thing from just knowing about them.  Having been a public school teacher and assisting with the end of the year record keeping at one of the schools I worked for, I had some idea of what I was doing.  For this review, we received a downloadable PDF document to use.

Everyday Education offers resources for homeschooling through high school.  All of Janice Campbell’s books can be found on this site along with articles and other homeschool resources that will guide and direct you in your homeschooling journey.  Everyday Education has been a source for homeschooling resources and information since 2001.

All of our four children all have different goals and aspirations in life.  Our oldest son became a Certified Nursing Assistant and took training that only required a High School Diploma.  Our second son plans on possibly working for either the Post Office or as a Police Officer. So I expect he will need more detailed information to present when he begins the process of applying. Our third son has definite plans for going to college. So he definitely will need a detailed high school transcript. Then our daughter has other plans to attend college. But I want to have a record for her in case she changes her mind in the future.  I was glad to have the opportunity to review this product because it helped provide direction for each of these situations.

Let’s face it, it is easier to think about the need for transcripts before your child enters high school than after they have graduated.  Moreover, it is easier to record what you are doing as you are doing it rather than trying to remember what you have done. So with that in mind, I believe Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork would benefit anyone with children who are in high school or are currently in or about to enter junior high/middle schoool.  For these younger students, starting proper record keeping early with a plan in mind will ensure an easier time creating transcripts.

Readers are advised to only refer to and use the sections they need.  So for example, if you have kept excellent records and only need to create a transcript, you can simply jump to that section.  I love the detailed explanations about the various parts of the transcript. The first section of the book truly addresses the ins and outs of what is included on the transcript.  But then the book goes on and does so much more than that.  So let’s get into what the book includes.

The ebook contains six sections which include:

  • Meet The Transcript – the basics of what is in the transcript
  • Plan with the End in Mind – think about where your child is heading
  • Keep Simple Records – keep up with what your child is doing
  • Grades, Credits, and the GPA – oh yes, grades and credits are important
  • Create the Transcript – This is where you actually make the transcript
  • References, Resources, and Reproducibles. – This includes forms to help make creating the transcript easy.

In the second section about planning with the end in mind, I found it helpful to read about skills and habits to cultivate in high school.  These basics included such things are writing basics, citations, online research, reliable research resources, personal organization and more.  Because we have lived in a state that required portfolios, I already keep samples of our children’s work.  While there was nothing really new in this section, it was nice to get reminders about what is important.  Our goal in the future is to scan the work in so we can maintain a digital record of it along with their transcripts and copies of their diplomas.  Then if they need any of it in the future it will be easily accessible.  

The third section addresses keeping simple records.  This section includes ideas for keeping a large binder with student samples, an activities log, a reading log, Class Portfolio Sheets, using Subject worksheets and more.  This section makes up a good portion of the book and includes a lot of information, including a section about Special Needs Records with Judith Munday and Special Needs Recommendations with Kathy Kuhl.

Part 4 is Grades, Credits, and the GPA.  I am a part of numerous groups on Facebook, and one of the most frequently asked questions I see are ones asking about determining credits.  Let’s face it, credits make or break a student’s ability to graduate from high school.  So planning early will take a lot of stress out of the process.  She includes suggestions for grading written work and even grading recommendations for unschoolers and the chronically relaxed. Ideas for granting credit and calculating the grade point average are also included.  So this section provides a wealth of information.  She provides a link to a grade point average calculator on her website to make this process easy.

Part 5 goes into creating the actual transcript.  This section includes design basics, issuing an official transcript, horizontal and vertical Transcript formats and instructions for creating them along with samples, and even a check-off transcript format.  A format for creating a high school diploma is also included.

The final section includes References, Resources, and Reproducibles.  This section has a glossary of terms, resources for planning and learning, books for homeschooling parents, Specials Needs information, plus testing and miscellaneous resources.   The reproducible forms including pages such as reading logs, an activities log, Class profile, Subject worksheets, vertical transcript forms, horizontal transcript forms, along with a check-off transcript form.

 

My one wish for the reproducible was that the forms could be filled out online rather than by hand and then actually having to physically create the transcript by myself.  I would love the ease of just plugging the information into a pre-existing form rather than having to actually create the form myself.  I feel this would make it easier on me as a parent.  Sometimes filling out forms is tedious.  

You can find Everyday Education on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Whether your children have already graduated, are currently in high school or are approaching high school, there is something in Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork for everyone.  So check out this book and Everyday Education for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are also reviewing this product this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew.

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe

 

 

Review of Memoria Press’ Poetry, Prose & Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set

c5dc036f-c403-4990-b815-28f985fae353-8776-000001e48ff29890_file

I love Memoria Press so I was so excited to receive Poetry, Prose, and Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set this time to review.  With a daughter in high school, I am always on the lookout for quality, classical materials for our daughter to use, and the products from Memoria Press never disappoint, especially if when searching for Classical Education materials.

Memoria Press, a family run company, provides easy to use Classical Education materials ranging from Latin to Poetry to Reading and more.  From the foundation that Cheryl Lowe began before her death in 2017, the company continues to provide a wealth of classical educational materials.  For this review, we received the Student Workbook, Student Textbook, and the Teacher’s Guide.

When we began our homeschooling journey, Memoria Press quickly became a favorite of our family, especially when we began studying Latin. So when given a choice of what she would like to review,  Poetry, Prose, and Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set was our daughter’s choice.  She loved the idea of studying some of the best pieces from this time period.  I knew I could trust the selections to be ones our family would approve of, and the materials did not disappoint me.  My only concern about the materials is the rather small font used in the books.  It made it difficult for me to read, and since I wanted to work through the materials with my daughter, this was a rather important factor.  According to their website, this set features poetry from the Anglo-Saxon Invasion to the Tudor Accession (449-1485).

The idea is for the student to create a notebook for this course and detailed instructions are provided about how to do this properly.  I was very pleased with the straight-forward nature and explanations provided in both the Teacher’s Guide and Student Workbook.  This notebook is where the student will record all the answers for the vocabulary words, discussion questions, comprehension questions and more.  I appreciate how the Teacher’s Guide gives parents permission to adapt the curriculum to adjust to your own family’s needs.  So I decided to allow our daughter to answer some questions orally rather than writing out answers.  Because this course can quickly become writing intensive, I could see the benefit of using an online notebook along with a program that allows the student to speak and then translates that into the document.  This would be especially beneficial for students who have difficulty writing for prolonged periods of time.

The books cover the Anglo-Saxon Invasion to the Norman Conquest (which includes the literature of the warrior and the literature of the priest), as well as from the Norman Conquest to the accession of the Tudors (which includes literature of the Medieval Church and the literature of the common people).  Because my husband is an ordained Primitive Baptist preacher and has been for all of our children’s lives, our daughter was especially interested in learning about the sections about the literature of the Priests.

Again from the website, the materials include the following description, “The Poetry Prose and Drama Book One: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set includes poems from the Anglo-Saxon Invasion to the Tudor Accession (449-1485). This Set includes Poetry, Prose, & Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods, the Student Guide, and the Teacher Guide. The anthology contains introductory readings that provide background information and historical context for the works as well as short introductions for each poem. The student book contains notes and instructions to the student, definitions of basic features, and an explanation of how to mark a book as well as pre-reading questions, reading notes, words to be defined, comprehension questions, Socratic discussion questions, and essay prompts. The Teacher Guide features notes and instructions to the teacher, and contains the answers to the questions found in the Student Guide as well as the Tests and Test Key.”

 

The first book in the collection is the Teacher Guide, which lays out everything the student is supposed to do for each lesson along with providing additional information, answers, preparation materials, reading notes and more.  It is meant for the parent to use to guide the student through the material.  However, with our high school daughter doing this set she could have worked more independently.  However, I love completing work with her, and especially literature or history – something this curriculum offers a wealth of each.  So this book provided useful guidance for me as my daughter and I worked through the materials.  The tests primarily use matching as a way of determining what the student remembers.  Our daughter appreciated this when taking tests.

 

The next book is the actual “reader”, meaning the book that has the actual reading material in it.  This includes selections from The Seafarer, The Wanderer, Andreas: A Legend of St. Andrew, Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Caedmon’s Hymn, The Dream of the Road, Robin Hood Ballads and more.  She enjoyed reading the introductory materials because it gave her a wealth of information to share with her father and brothers.  She appreciated how the information was separated into sections with headings to make it easy to follow.  When we began reading The Seafarer, she appreciated the imagery and descriptive language used.  The section on riddles also captured her attention, since again she was able to share them with her father and brothers.  When we began reading the selection about St. Andrew, she appreciated the language and descriptions given.

 

As she worked through the questions in the Student Workbook, I tried breaking it up for her so she did not get overwhelmed by the material.  We found the mixture of vocabulary words and questions to be a good fit for our daughter.

You can find Memoria Press on Social Media here:  Facebook, Twitter with the Tag: @MemoriaPress, Pinterest, Instagram – with the Tag: @MemoriaPress, and YouTube.

All in all, our family was very pleased with  Poetry, Prose, and Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set from Memoria Press.  Check this set out for yourself.if you are looking to homeschool classically.  You can check out my review of Second Form Latin here.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing other products from Memoria Press this week including their Latin programs, various sets from the Poetry, Prose, and Drama Series along with the Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading Program.  So click here or on the image below to check out more reviews for yourself.

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe

Review of Victus Study Skills System

3781cef3-65b3-4509-b5a8-81c166c239e2-2088-0000006917e48b13_file-1

Today I am reviewing Level 3 (5/6-10/11), Level 4 and the Student Planner from Victus Study Skills System.  Regardless of what background a student comes from or what plans the student has for the future, all students and in fact, everyone needs to learn how to study effectively.  So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this program with our children.   After all, study skills remain a vital life skill regardless of someone’s age.  The consumable study skills workbook provide an excellent means of organization for the students.  They also offer a Student Planner.

According to their home page, “The Victus Study Skills System is a systems approach to study, not just isolated skills and individual components to be mastered, but rather a way of thinking about studying.”    The Victus Study Skills System has been created by a group of educators who have learned all students of all ages need to know in order to study effectively.  The Latin word “victus” means life and truly studying needs to be a way of life. The system is broken down into four levels.

  • Level 1 or Primary is for Kindergarten through grades 2/3
  • Level 2 or Elementary is for grades 2/3 to 4/5
  • Level 3 is for grades 5/6-10/11
  • Level 4 is for grades 10/11 – college

We received all four levels plus the planner for this review.  But, for the purpose of this review, I will be reviewing Levels 3 and 4.  There are three separate teacher supplements:  one for the Primary level, one for the elementary level and one that covers Level 3 and Level 4.  Obviously, the lessons for primary and elementary require more instruction from the teacher/parent and less work from the student.  However, even elementary students benefit from learning how to study properly. Here is a side by side comparison going from left to right of the Primary Teacher Supplement, the Elementary Teacher Supplement and the Teacher Supplement for levels 3 and 4.

958b1ebf-c91e-404f-a95d-a43fb38cd18f-7282-000001b4e922f177_file

One thing I really like about all of the Teacher Supplements is how the student pages are included so parents can see what the student needs to complete and also what the correct answers for the worksheets are (at least for the ones that have ones that have a definitive answer) and blank examples of the pages, such as for the Notetaking Section that require students to come up with their own answers.  The Teacher Supplement for Levels 3 and 4 contains more details since the students are required to know more and do more.

 

Whether a child who is in elementary school or a student in high school or college or even adults living and working in the so-called real world, studying retains a certain level of importance.  As our family began to embark on our journey with this system, I loved the methodical way everything was laid out.  All of the levels cover the same ten lessons but go into varying depths based on the student’s ages.  Because my daughter and son are in high school, I decided to let them work on the materials more independently.  If our children were either in primary or elementary grades, obviously more parental involvement would have been required.

I could have decided to have our two children work together in a group but felt it would be more advantageous for them to go through the material on their own and at their own pace.  Our daughter is currently in the 10th grade, so she worked in the Level 3 workbook and our son is borderline grades 11/12 was going to work in the college level workbook.  Lessons 1 and 2 concentrates on where the student is currently.  Lesson 3 addresses where the student wants to be.  Finally, lessons 4 through 10 addresses how to get there.  The course is designed to take ten hours to complete.  If we had done this as a group, I feel like it may have taken us longer than 10 hours to complete.

The lessons address such topics as determining current study habits, determining learning strengths, determining a mission and setting goals, time management, organization and study environment, PQRST, listening skills, note taking, test taking, and finishes with a review of all the material covered in the course.

 

 

As our 18-year-old son who is almost a senior began working in this workbook, he realized many things he already did, such as having a set place to study.  He knows he has to study in his bedroom at his desk with silence around him.  He had an idea of how to take notes but felt the notetaking section really helped to fill in the gaps.  Finally, he also appreciated the test section.  Through the years we have lived in different places with different requirements, so taking tests was something he had done.  But learning strategies to be more successful at test-taking he thought was helpful.  He knows where he wants to go in life and has fairly good plans for getting there, so the workbook helped reinforce those concepts.

 

 

For our 16-year-old daughter who is in between 9th and 10th grade, the level 3 workbook helped her recognize the importance of time management and some of the areas she needed to work on now.  Because she is the youngest of four, some things such as notetaking and test-taking cause her to feel anxiety, but the strategies presented in the workbook helped to give her a needed confidence boost.

 

Because our son already uses an online planner he uses and is comfortable with, I decided to use the planner with our daughter this week to see if it helped her focus and stay on task.  So far it seems to be working.  Rather than putting in the actual lesson (which I do on an online planner), I decided to just write down the subjects for her so that as she completes a lesson, she can simply fill in what she did that day.  Plus, if we miss a day, it will not require rewriting the entire planner.  So here is a sample of this week in the planner.

e4e72319-5b69-4191-810c-cd05c2650d8a-7282-000001b0bbe29fcd_file

I wish the system had been available when we first started homeschooling because I believe that all students need to learn how to study effectively.  This course definitely fits that purpose.  The younger students are when they begin this program, the better their study skills will be when they are ready to go to college.  Also, if a student begins at the Primary Level they could complete the subsequent levels at the appropriate grade level to build on what they already know.

You can find Victus Study Skills System on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.  So check out Victus Study Skills System for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew including ones reviewing Levels 1 and 2, click here or on the graphic below.

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe

Review of IXL from IXL Learning

4363bd59-80be-4a43-9312-bf7ffb5a407f-1690-00000078c35d7880_file

Having homeschooled all four of our children through the years, I know the benefit of having online learning activities to reinforce what they are already learning.  With only two children left and they are both in high school, I like exploring alternative methods for them to practice what they are learning.  IXL Learning offers so much more than just an online math drill!  IXL Learning provides adaptive and personalized learning for your students. We received an annual membership to IXL where you get access to Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies!  Because my students are in high school, they had access to the Math and Language Arts sections.  I love how we had access to all grades and levels, so if I felt like they needed to practice a skill from a lower math level, they were able to do so easily.

7d9ecbfe-b275-486b-80e8-f4ca3dd976a3-1690-000000795c325476_file

IXL Learning offers a comprehensive online K-12 curriculum including Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and even Spanish.  For the purpose of this review, we received access for our two children who are still being homeschooled.  IXL Learning can be accessed using computers or on mobile devices.  For this review, we used a combination of a laptop and an Apple iPad.

d0f64e44-5a22-461e-ad00-05adce78d76d-1690-00000078ddda70ac_file

I loved the convenience of being able to have our son and daughter practice no matter where we are.  The site offers practice in very specific sections along with diagnostic tests and even provides recommendations.  Because my children are in high school, I decided to skip the diagnostic tests for the purpose of the review.  Because this site is not meant to provide actual instruction but instead provides practice, we skipped around and worked on areas I felt like they needed extra practice.  The site offers an immersive and adaptive learning experience.

5d309201-4756-4309-9438-eedbee220090-1690-00000078fdc90c49_file

Since math is an area our daughter needs the most assistance and practice with, that is where we concentrated our practice.  However, we also did utilize the language arts sections some as well.

One of the things about the site my children and I loved the most was the incredibly detailed way the courses were laid out and broken down.  These details made it quick and easy to pick out exactly what topics and sections we wanted to choose to work on each time.  The idea was for our daughter to use the program at least three times a week for a reasonable amount of time.  We found that recommendation to be reasonable.

Because we were trying to fill in gaps and strengthen her math skills, we really jumped around in various grades, sections, and topics.  We primarily focused on eighth grade and Algebra I, since these are her weakest areas.  Our family loved how when they completed enough questions, they would earn an award.

76b095c1-81c1-42f9-bbd0-77ba17d9539c-1690-0000008004191403_file

Our son is studying Geometry, so he also used the program to concentrate on areas where we felt like he needed more practice.  Because he is currently doing a fairly rigorous schedule with his original subjects, he did not necessarily work on this program as often as our daughter.  He was very pleased with his experience with the program, and I was glad I did not have to fight with him to access the program.

I feel this program is ideal for any family wanting to strengthen and reinforce their children’s skills in the core areas of Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.  There are so many topics and subjects to explore. If you are not sure what you want your child to do, the diagnostic tests provide an excellent tool for narrowing the scope down for you.

You can find IXL Learning on social media at the following links:
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
YouTube

IXL Learning provides an amazing amount of resources for K-12, and other members of the Home School Review Crew are also sharing their experiences with the site this week.  So if you are interested in finding out more about IXL Learning and reading more review by other members of the Home School Review Crew for other grades, click here or on the graphic below.

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe

Review of Heirloom Audio’s “For The Temple”

 

img_2182-1

Our family loves listening to audio dramas, especially when we are traveling in our van somewhere.  Moreover, I love adding Christian audio drama to my family’s listening time and so I was thrilled to receive the 2-CD set of For The Temple from Heirloom Audio for our listening pleasure.  Heirloom Audio offers their audio theater either on CDs or as digital downloads.  For this review, we received the actual CDs.

Heirloom Audio provides quality Christain Audio Dramas the whole family will enjoy listening to time and time again.  These are more than just books read aloud.  They include amazing soundtracks, multiple voices, incredible sound effects and more.  Based on the books by G.A. Henty, this audio drama as with their others truly bring history to life.

img_2183-1

Along with the Audio dramas themselves, a Study Guide is also available.  This guide includes detailed information regarding the background of the story,  Our family really enjoyed following the development of John’s character.  One of our favorite parts was after John and his band had started thwarting the Roman Army.  He had returned to his family, and his mother and fiancee were extolling the character of the “John” they had been hearing about while John knew they were actually talking about him. At the same time, they wanted to know if John had met them and he replied he did know him.  However, when his father walked in and revealed the fact that John was indeed the one they were talking about, he stated that he had not revealed his true role in the events.  John has the wisdom to realize that those viewed as heroes sometimes let down those who extol their virtues.

img_2188

Another part of the story our family found particularly interesting was the conversation between John and Titus.  John spares Titus’ life in exchange for a promise from Titus that Titus and his armies would not destroy the temple.  John’s steadfast devotion to God and preserving the temple of God truly caused us to focus on our own faith and what we believe we would be willing to do for God.

img_2187-1

In addition to the audio drama, a study guide is available, which provides background information, a list of characters, questions for each chapter, vocabulary words and more.  Here are some screenshots of some of the pages of the study guide.  For our family, we decided not to use the study guide as a written exercise.  Instead, I decided our family would use the questions as a jumping off point to start conversations about what we were listening to in the story.  In other circumstances, I could visualize our children using the questions as journal exercises.  Upon answering the questions and writing out the definitions of any words required, I would have the children orally present their thoughts to the rest of the family.

 

 

Our family has also had the privilege of reviewing other dramas from Heirloom Audio including In the Reign of Terror, Captain Bayley’s Heir, Wulf the Saxon, and St. Bartholomew’s Eve.  From the very first audio drama, we listened to from Heirloom Audio our family has been captivated by the quality and details of these stories.  If your family utilize Christian homeschooling materials and enjoy books by G.A. Henty along with audio theater, check out For The Temple for yourself.  And if you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the banner below.

Heirloom-Audio-Productions-For-The-Temple-Reviews

320crew20disclaimer202016_zpscwpb9ywe